Insight

Investing in prosperous places

Martin Breeden, development director of intu reflects on our investment into the future of Watford

Our £180m transformation of intu Watford was revealed on 27 September as Debenhams opened the doors to their new format store. We’ve delivered exactly what we set out to achieve and it’s important to now reflect back on our reasons for investing in the prosperous future of Watford.

As a London Satellite Town, Watford has great potential, located just on the outskirts of the M25, boasting excellent transport links into the capital it's a town that benefits from the continued growth of London. 

The cosmopolitan town of Watford will benefit from our £180m investment to create a 400,000 sq ft extension at intu Watford, complete with sought-after retailers, a range of tantalising restaurants and entertaining leisure activities for the whole family. The development will significantly boost the daytime and evening economy, bringing more people to enjoy all that Watford offers more often and from further afield.

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An image showing what intu Watford's 400,000 sq ft extension will look like once complete

Destination-led shopping trips

25% of shopping trips in the UK are destination-led and account for 44% of spend.* The impressive nine-screen IMAX cinema, contemporary bowling offer from Hollywood Bowl and host of new restaurants and bars, including TGI Friday's, Yo!Sushi and The Florist will become an increasingly important part of why shoppers choose to visit Watford as today’s consumers seek compelling shopping experiences. According to research by CACI, the addition of leisure attractions such as Cineworld will also benefit other businesses in the town as 41% of cinema goers go on to spend £19 on catering and a further £80 in retail.

Wider appeal

intu Watford will transform the retail and leisure landscape of Watford, elevating the town to CACI’s top 20 national retail destinations ranking, placing it alongside Edinburgh and Bristol.* The growing  appeal of intu Watford as a shopping destination will also increase its potential catchment population from 1.6 million to 2.8 million making intu Watford the number one choice for even more shoppers. Retailers and operators will also reap the benefits of a 47% increase in market potential and a 73% increase in comparison goods expenditure.

Watford is perfectly situated, benefitting from an affluent catchment with Acorn categories; Lavish Lifestyles, Executive Wealth and Career Climbers forming the majority of the catchment population, higher than the regional and national average. These more affluent households tend to travel further and are more likely to engage in a spot of shopping alongside dining and leisure as part of their big destination shop.

A considered offer

To appeal to this affluent catchment, we’re adding to our existing portfolio of quality retailers including, John Lewis, Apple, Mac and Thomas Sabo, to introduce even more fantastic retail brands such as Superdry, Jack Wills and Debenhams, who will open their doors to their new format store today as they continue to evolve their department store offer.  Research from CACI shows that the addition of Debenhams will be an additional driver of big day out shopping trips which will in turn increase overall dwell time and positively impact the rest of the centre.

To deliver a winning destination that supports and drives the locally economy means we have carefully curated the retail and leisure offer to deliver something of real value to the people who visit. We’re turning our shop fronts outward and merging with the high street to become an even bigger part of the local community and delivering something which we hope will give people pride in their town and support the future growth and long-term prosperity of Watford.